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What is the reasoning of the 2 different minhagim (traditions) on what bracha to say on matzah when its not Peasach?

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2 Answers

The Halacha is fairly clear about how to treat various categories of grain product:

  1. Bread
  2. Grain products that aren't at all bread (e.g. pasta)
  3. Quasi-bread not usually treated as bread

What's far less clear is exactly what fits into which category. If, for instance, you consider cheerios to be #3, then you'd have to wash, make hamotzi, and bench on them if you treat them as your morning meal. (This is, I'm told, in fact the opinion of Chicago's Dayan Feurst.) The common practice is otherwise only because we categorize cheerios as #2.

The question here is our definition of "bread", category #1. Sephardic opinions have a very limited definition (many Ashkenazic challahs -- with their egg, oil, and vanilla, may not qualify for Sephardim), Ashkenazim have a broader definition. So it's no surprise that Sephardim think matza is a cracker when not Passover, but Ashkenazim say it's bread.

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Rabbi Moshe Heineman holds that since Cheerios is generally eaten with a spoon, (unlike bread) that is why it is a Mezonos. –  Gershon Gold Jan 4 '11 at 15:40
    
but why change for Pesach? Why don't sephardim make Matzot that fit their definition of bread, as opposed to changing the definition to suit them? –  Menachem May 21 '12 at 4:10
    
@Menachem if you קובע סעודה (set up a meal) on a mezonos you have to wash on it. On Passover usually people eat matzah as a main part of the meal. –  jutky May 21 '12 at 11:45
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Sefaradim consider matzha as bread only on Passover because the Torah calls matzah "lechem oni" - "poor mans bread" so in effect, the Torah defines matzah as bread but only on pesach -source, Teshuvot of Rav Ovadia Yosef

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What about pesach sheni? –  Shmuel Brin 1 hour ago
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